Breweries with an illustrious heritage often struggle to shake off the fusty, traditional image that grates with modern artistic design. In an effort to stay modern and relevant, any attempt at a violent rebrand is usually clumsy, and often ends up sacrificing what people liked about the brewery’s image in the first place. It’s refreshing then, to see the beautiful labels of the new canned version of Pilsner Urquell that should be arriving on these shores in the next couple of months.
As you can see from the image above, these aren’t just any labels. In a nod to the brewer’s rich history, Urquell are selling their new cans in four packs, with each can bearing a different, limited edition label, based on four different designs from the brewery’s archives (my favourites are the two on the left). It’s slightly reminiscent of the arty labels that Becks had commissioned a while back, yet in Pilsner’s case I think this really keeps true to the brewery’s history and branding without pandering to fashion.
They look really, really good, especially in the rather *craft* cardboard sleeve, and the beer inside tastes on a par with draught Pilsner Urquell in terms of freshness and mouthfeel. They should be hitting shelves in the UK in time for summer.
In more Pilsner packaging news, Urquell will be selling bottled Pilsner entirely in brown glass in the very near future (EDIT: likely to arrive in the UK next year), and there are plans for more of their Tankovna (brewery-fresh, unpasteurised pilsner tanks) to be installed in pubs both inside and outside of London. I’ll be discussing the Tankovna version of Pilsner in a future blogpost, but rest assured, it’s damn good stuff. Like the freshest pilsner you’ve ever tasted, with the smooth, quaffable mouthfeel of cask ale.
The brewery has also sent some wooden casks of the unfiltered version of Pilsner (enjoyed by the attendees to EBBC13 last year) to several pubs around London this week. There’s info about where you can find some today or tomorrow on this page of their website (has an age checking thing).
Thanks to Mark Dredge for getting me an advance four-pack of these cans. Yet more evidence, if more evidence were needed, that 2014 will see the Summer of Cans.